Does kindness = happiness?

27 May

I’ve been trying to be kinder lately.  I recently asked the question “have you been kind today?” in a post.  I’ve not really gone out of my way, haven’t planned any over the top grand kindness gestures, I’ve just been doing the things we should really be doing, but that are sometimes forgotten in the daily rush of things.  I’ve been doing things that don’t come so naturally to my generally more shy personality.  I’ve been chatting to more people, saying hello more often and definitely smiling more.  I’ve helped upset kids in the playground find their lost Mums and let the Drama Queen’s friends at child care treat me like their climbing frame.  I’ve tried to help where I can, and generally spread some happy karma into the world.

I thought I might take stock of this kindness and see if it has made a difference to my general happiness, and because I’ve been joining in the Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May project, it’s perfect timing to reflect while I’m posting my weekly happiness post.

Has it made me happier? Has mindful kindness affected my general mood and made my world a happier place? The short answer is yes, or at least I think it has.  I feel as though the people I interact with seem happier.  Maybe it’s because I’m reaping what I sow and the energy I’m sending into the world is being reflected back.  I’ve definitely had a lot more casual conversations with strangers in the street.  I have seen a lot more people smiling, and it looks like they’re returning my smile a lot of the time.  My general mood has been a lot better and my patience with the little inconveniences of life is definitely improving.  I haven’t measured anything, don’t have any facts and figures, just a general feeling and a hunch, and that hunch says that kindness does equal happiness.

I do have a kindness highlight that I would love to share.  About 18 months ago I had a bus trip into the city.  While this in itself isn’t extraordinary, I catch a bus quite often, the bus driver I had on this trip was extraordinary.  She embodied all that is kind and happy.  In a world where it is all too easy to just go through the motions, this bus driver went out of her way to greet every single passenger onto her bus.  I chatted to her on the trip into the city, and it made my journey unforgettable.  I went home and sent an e-mail to the transit authority thanking and praising this bus driver.  I hoped that she had received a copy of the e-mail because I knew she deserved to know how much happiness she had injected into my day.  This isn’t where my story ends.

This week I was out shopping with the Daredevil, I was waiting for a lift and started chatting to a lady about the lifts and which one would come first.  The lady looked familiar, and when I saw the Sydney Buses logo on her shirt the penny dropped.  This was my bus driver, the one who had given me the best bus riding experience ever!  I couldn’t let the opportunity pass, I mustered up the courage and asked.  It turns out that not only was she my bus driver, but she had also recognised my face and remembered that I had been on my first night out without the Daredevil (he was only 6 months old at the time).  Unfortunately she hadn’t received a copy of my e-mail, but I think I made her day by remembering her and thanking her in person.  I know it made my day!

Now for my Happy Days in May update.  If you want to catch up on the last couple of weeks, you can see post 1 here, post 2 here and post 3 here.

21 May 2012 – I ran into my bus driver lady today!

22 May 2012 – Today I got to be a eucalyptus tree for the Drama Queen’s imaginative child care Koala friends –  lots and lots of laughing.

23 May 2012 – Mt Perfect went away for a boys golf escape, so the Munchkins and I got to have carpet picnics for dinner.

24 May 2012 – Mr Perfect and I escaped for our night of culture at the theatre, I always feel happy being immersed in another world, another reality and expanding my creative horizons, though Jack Thompson’s smooth voice almost put me to sleep!

25 May 2012 – An afternoon nap for all of us recharged the batteries.

26 May 2012 – Lunch with the family at the Hard Rock Cafe – cocktails, too much food and Brownies to die for, Yum!

27 May 2012 – A morning of garden creation with the family lead to smiles,  a lot of mud and a big mess to clean up, hope our green grows!

I’m off to polish up my smile for tomorrow!

Sam

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4 Responses to “Does kindness = happiness?”

  1. Donna@GWGT May 28, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    Kindness does equal happiness. I find it all around when people are happy, those around them are likewise. It was very nice you approached and then realized that it was your bus driver. Now she also has a happy story to tell. And I bet she did many times over. Pay it forward is such a cliche, but this is a great way to do it.

    • drawnoutdoors May 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

      So true, pay it forward is such a good way to live. I like to tell my kids that what you give out comes back to you, not sure that they quite get it yet, but I hope that it becomes second nature to them after hearing it so often!

  2. naomi ellis June 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    I love this. I love your focus on kindness and that you went out of your way to help others. Thanks for joining in my Happiness Project and your blog post is very inspiring. Thank you x

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Friday FInds – Keeping it Kind « drawnoutdoors - July 6, 2012

    [...] written a couple of posts about being kind (if you missed them you can have another read here and here).  I like the feeling that kindness gives me, and the changes I see it making in others. [...]

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